How can I stop Facebook sending me adverts I do not want or need? We have all been there before – the person who gets adverts for cat food but doesn’t have a cat or the teenage boy who is bombarded by ads for incontinence panties. How does it happen and more to the point how can you stop it?
While you read the following article why not listen to my e-baroque compositions – just click on the box below:
or if techno music is more your cup of tea here are my techno/ambient compositions:
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At this time of year many of us will have been having an on-line feeding frenzy – involving visiting sales sites for a whole range of diverse, and perhaps weird, Christmas presents. And then we have spent hours on social media sites like Facebook clicking thousands of likes against those ‘exciting’ photos our virtual friends have been posting to try and make up for forgetting to send them a personal greeting.
Well now it is payback time. The virtual big-brother, otherwise known as the Facebook algorithm, has been gathering lots of information about your ‘likes’. It has also been getting tonnes of juicy information from those on-line purchasing trips. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t intend to buy those frilly pink silk panties for yourself – the algorithm now has you marked-up as someone who has a potential interest in frilly pink silk panties and perhaps also a connoisseur of any of the other ‘exotic things on offer by the site you ‘innocently’ visited.
Did you click ‘like’ on that photo of a friend’s child playing in the nativity play with a plastic inflatable donkey? Well don’t be surprised if you start getting adverts for donkey food, or special offers for manure, or perhaps even animal themed inflatable ‘toys’. In fact the algorithm probably has enabled advertisers to combine your interest categories branding you as someone who likes dressing inflatable toys with frilly pink silk panties.
I learned the hard way that you have to be very careful before you click ‘like’. In the days when I was putting together my album of fun songs I experimented with different song titles and thumbnail photos to try and understand what influenced the viewer stats on YouTube. Interestingly two of my biggest YouTube hits at that time were my recordings of ‘Pretty Boy Sally‘ (about a gay cross dressing peasant boy who marries a eunuch) and Lycra Larry (about a scantily dressed jogger who accidentally exposes himself).
As a marketing exercise the success of these titles told me a lot about how to get attention on youTube. However I did not realise that by clicking ‘like’ against my own videos on Facebook I would be categorised for potential advertisers as a particularly interesting client (especially those producing Lycra based ‘dressing-up’ products).
If you also discover that you are getting the wrong kind of attention from advertisers on Facebook what can you do about it? Fortunately it it possible to veto any ‘categories’ into which you believe you have been incorrectly classified. The process is as follows:
- At the top right hand corner of your Facebook page you should see a little arrow.
- Click on the arrow and a menu appears.
- Click on ‘Settings’.
- A new menu opens and towards the bottom click where it says ‘Adverts’.
- At the bottom of the next page click edit against ‘Adverts based on my Preferences’.
- Then visit your Advert Preferences.
- You will see a list of category groups with numbers against them.
- Click on these groups and you will see the precise categories you have been classified under.
- By placing your mouse over a category an ‘X’ appears at the end of the line which you can click on to remove the category.
By following this process you will not reduce the number of adverts you receive – you can simply eliminate some of the more useless (or perhaps embarrassing) categories. In fact you can even help advertisers to identify where your interests lie by adding some categories of your own. To do this go to the box at the top of the page and click against ‘Browse’. Then select categories that are more to your preference.
By the way – if the Facebook algorithm happens to read this educational article please note that based on the ‘Choir girl’ video below I should be categorised as a ‘devoutly religious person’ (at my age I need a few extra brownie points upstairs)
Now prepare for an uplifting experience!